If the adage that challenges create opportunities is true, 2023 is full of potential for retail and restaurant ISVs to grow. Rick Smith, Business development director for Elo Touch Solutions, shares his perspective on where those opportunities are and solutions that are in demand.
What are the biggest opportunities for retail and restaurant ISVs?
Smith: Mobile payment solutions enable better engagement with brand employees to expedite their shopping and buying process. Customers are demanding a frictionless experience and have reported prioritizing shopping with merchants that are responding to their needs. Mobile pay has been a big differentiator, and we anticipate brands seeking those solutions.
Which payment trends must retail and restaurant ISVs watch this year?
Smith: Payment trends in 2023 will show that the tap payment method is becoming increasingly popular and in demand by customers wanting a frictionless experience, keeping the transaction smooth and fast. Printed paper receipts are phasing out in exchange for the customer’s email address, which is handy for the customer and valuable for the retailer.
Which innovations will have the biggest impact on retail and restaurant businesses in 2023?
Smith: While early adopters are already leveraging self-service technology and the higher tickets they bring in, it’s anticipated that this is the year that the crowds will follow. The early birds have deployed and shared their findings – most operators implore others to join the self-service movement, stating there is no downside to this technology. Not only does it increase ticket size and reduce the need for counter help, but it also enables the retail or restaurant business to grow faster with a light tech stack that can be deployed to new stores in short order as all computing is in the cloud. They simply install the device and deploy the content from their MDM that supports all stores. Over time this will also reduce technical debt.
How do you see advanced technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and robotics, impacting the retail or restaurant industries?
Smith: Advanced technologies like AR, VR, AI, ML, and robotics have already started changing the operations and profitability of both retail and restaurants. Smart technology paired with self-service caters to customers’ needs in a way humans cannot. Customers use the endless aisle at retail to find different colors and sizes, whether in-store or delivered directly to their homes. This technology accounts for up to 10 percent of retail revenue.
In restaurants, AI is being used to determine which upsells and add-ons make sense for each transaction – and it’s being offered on 100 percent of the orders, whereas humans are not as reliable. This reliability has increased the average QSR order by up to 40 percent. One of the top multi-chain restaurant owner’s CFOs noted self-service solutions as the most profitable channel at one of their chains during their most recent earnings report. We have also noted an uptick in hiring needs as the business needs more greeters, servers, and cooks. We anticipate this growth to outpace current predictions based on customer demand and an increase in profit to the bottom line.
How will retailers ramp up personalization and enhanced CX in 2023?
Smith: Retailers, like many other industries, are studying the customer buying journey to not only adapt and respond to customers but to get in front of their demands and answer their needs before they ask. This includes self-service kiosks for price checkers where AI may recognize the customer by face or fingerprint and personalize the recommendations based on current and past visits. This same kiosk may be used to access the loyalty program and identify levels, points, and rewards; these programs collect personal data to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Waypoint signage may use the same technology to help point out where consumers’ favorite brands are located in the store, as well as any offers or discounts on these brands.
Customers also expect to be treated like the same customer across platforms; retailers may need to retool their CRMs to connect to the phone, internet, chat, and retail store to deliver consistent messaging. This also provides an enhanced ability to score customers across all platforms and identify the greatest intent so marketing may leverage all touchpoints.